cbd oil for mild cognitive impairment

CBD oil and MCI — here’s what you need to know

If you are of my generation, you have strong memories of Jane Fonda, as an actress and as an activist.

But it really startled me the other day to see this article in Longevity saying that Jane Fonda is 83. What’s the secret to her agelessness? Well, one thing she attributes it to is CBD oil.

Without question, the right supplements can be beneficial for some people with MCI.

Which is great for Jane Fonda, but is CBD oil right for people with mild cognitive impairment? I’ve been getting that question a lot lately, so that’s what I want to talk about today.

Hi, I’m Tony Dearing of GoCogno.com, the website for people with mild cognitive impairment.

Now without question, the right supplements can be very beneficial for some people with MCI. On that list, I would put things like fish oil. And MCT oil.

But CBD oil? Sorry, I can’t recommend that one to people with MCI. The evidence isn’t there yet. Still, I don’t dismiss it entirely.

CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the active ingredients in marijuana. And it has legitimate medicinal benefits. As Harvard Health points out, it’s used to treat certain child epilepsy syndromes. And also, such conditions as anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain.

But when people with mild cognitive impairment ask me about CBD oil, I point them to the Cognitive Vitality website.

“However, most clinical studies have shown a lack of cognitive improvement.”

According to the Cognitive Vitality report on CBD oil: “Studies have suggested potential neuroprotective properties of CBD. However, most clinical studies have shown a lack of cognitive improvement, and no data exist for long-term treatment in humans.”

Now, because CBD has shown to be helpful in treating anxiety and sleeplessness, there is a potential secondary benefit. For someone with MCI, if you’re feeling less anxious or if you’re sleeping better, you’re likely to do better cognitively.

However, if your specific concern is brain health, and giving yourself the best possible chance to slow, halt or reversing whatever cognitive loss you’re experiencing, there’s much better evidence for supplements like MCT oil, or fish oil, or Lion’s Mane mushrooms or curcumin.

Hype isn’t going to make your brain better. You want something that’s safe and scientifically proven.

So yeah, there’s a lot of buzz right now around CBD oil. But hype isn’t going to make your brain better. You want something that’s safe and scientifically proven, and of course, you always want to talk to your doctor about any supplement or vitamin you’re considering.

So that’s my take on CBD oil. I hope you find it helpful, and if you want to know more, I’m including a bunch of helpful links below. Thanks again for joining me today. I’ll see you again next week. Until then, as always, be kind to your mind.

Medical Cannabis Isn’t Associated With Cognitive Problems For Older Adults, Study Finds

Senior retired couple enjoying marijuana in their gazebo garden. They smoke medicinal cannabis. . [+] Photo was taken in Quebec Canada.

Cannabis use is on the rise. As legal access to this medical and recreational drug has increased over the last decade, more and more people have started using cannabis. And this year Covid-19 stresses have only increased the demand for cannabis, causing big increases in cannabis use. Older adults have been no exception to this trend, with more seniors turning to cannabis for medical needs like treating chronic pain, depression and sleep disturbances or as a recreational option. Still, some have worried that older adults (who may already have increased risks of cognitive decline) could be putting themselves at additional risk by using this mind-altering plant.

But now a new study suggests medical cannabis use isn’t associated with cognitive problems in older adults.

Previous studies have tied cannabis use in young adults to risk of mild but long-term cognitive impairments like small drops in IQ. While other research suggests that cannabis isn’t actually to blame for these drops, it is still an open question and has raised concerns that cannabis may impact cognition in another vulnerable group – seniors.

To add to the complex pictures, some animal studies suggest that THC, the most common chemical in cannabis, may actually improve cognitive function in seniors – as it did in some studies on elderly mice.

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This has led researchers to wonder what impact cannabis and its active chemicals might actually have when it comes to cognitive function in older adults. Could it improve cognitive functioning or worsen it? Might it have no effect at all?

Unfortunately, few human studies have looked specifically at this question, and the studies on younger cannabis users can’t be used to evaluate risks for older adult.

“The brain in late-life differs from that of young individuals as it goes through multiple changes including in global and regional volumes, and in patterns of neural activity” the authors of the study explain. “Hence, results from studies of early-life exposure to cannabis use are unlikely to translate to elderly users.”

The new study, conducted by researchers in Israel, looked specifically at whether adults over 65 were at risk from cognitive impairment when using medical cannabis.

To test whether elderly medical cannabis patients were more likely to have cognitive issues, researchers recruited older patients with a chronic pain condition. 63 of these patients used medical cannabis, while 62 did not. Then, at a time when the medical cannabis patients had not used cannabis for at least 3 hours, they assessed their cognitive function with a variety of measures for assessing psychomotor reaction time, attention, working memory and new learning.

A woman of 58 years old shows her senior mother of 85 years old how to use an electronic cigarette . [+] to smoke medicinal cannabis. Photo was taken in Quebec Canada during summer time.

The results showed no statistically relevant differences between the two groups when it came to cognitive function. Both before and after the researchers made adjustments for potential confounding factors – the medical cannabis users showed similar cognitive abilities to the group that wasn’t using cannabis. Researchers even evaluated whether cognitive differences could be tied to differences in dosage, the frequency or length of use, or the concentration of THC or CBD, but found no significant associations.

The authors of the study conclude that “these results suggest that use of whole plant medical cannabis does not have a widespread impact on cognition in older chronic pain patients” adding that “considering the increasing use of medical cannabis in older populations, this study could be a first step towards a better risk– benefit assessment of medical cannabis treatment in this population.”

Still the authors point out the study has some limitations. For one thing, the study design doesn’t give us information about cause and effect relationships between cannabis and cognitive function. They can’t say for sure from this that cannabis doesn’t cause cognitive issues for older adults, they just have added evidence that the two aren’t statistically associated with each other. While this gives us some evidence for assessing risk, future studies with a different design could tell us more about whether cannabis plays a causal role in cognitive changes for older adults.

Medical marijuana products are displayed by the Cannabis Discussion Club at Trilogy at the Vineyards . [+] in Brentwood, some 55 miles east of San Francisco, California, on June, 21, 2018. – Seniors in the United States are increasingly turning to cannabis to treat their aches and pains. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

The researchers also didn’t collect information on other medications the participants were taking, which could have played a role in cognitive functioning outcomes. It’s also possible that cannabis could impact areas of cognition that weren’t measured in this study – or that the measures used weren’t sensitive enough to pick up differences that existed between the two groups.

To add to this, the study looked specifically at patients with chronic pain. While chronic pain is the most common reason people use medical cannabis, it’s possible that the results would vary when using cannabis for other conditions.

Thus the authors say that while their study provides moderately strong evidence for the lack of an association between cannabis use and cognitive decline in older adults, “future studies are urgently needed to further clarify the implications of late-life cannabis use for brain health.”